Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Travel: T&C Travel, Lord Howe Island, Australia

Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island

Already a vacation paradise, Capella Lodge makes Australia's Lord Howe Island even more appealing.

By Julie Earle-Levine

A sleek new hideaway on Australia's Lord Howe Island, in the South Pacific, makes the UNESCO World Heritage-listed paradise even more appealing. The tiny island, just a two-hour flight from Sydney, is relatively undiscovered and blessed with abundant flora and fauna. Its Capella Lodge is the latest offering from James Baillie, the visionary behind some of Australia's best resorts, including Lizard Island and Bedarra Island.

The nine-suite beach house with a wraparound teak deck and floor-to-ceiling glass windows opened last year, after Baillie bought the existing property and rebuilt it from the ground up. The stylishly spare rooms have shutters that open to views of mountains and an isolated lagoon with golden sand and rolling surf.

By day, guests snorkel in the coral reef or bike on the nearly car-free island. Capella's spa features Aboriginal treatments and is the perfect place to relax after climbing Lord Howe's two volcanic peaks. Try Gower's Foot Therapy, named after one of the mountains: a foot soak and salt scrub followed by a mask of kelp and pepper berry. Take an early-morning yoga class on the beach, and in the evening enjoy the sunset while dining on fresh seafood at Capella's restaurant. From $306 a person daily. 011-61-2-9928-4355;